Walmer Castle and Gardens

This castle, with its lush gardens and delicious café treats, is fit for a king, and a queen’s mother.

The Duke of Wellington, Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother are among the list of Wardens to the grand Walmer Castle and its fine gardens. Built in 1540 under King Henry VIII’s reign, Walmer Castle was a defensive fortress against Spanish and French threats. Explore the castle’s ornately decorated interior and see the rooms that the duke and queen made their own. An original pair of “Wellington Boots” and the duke’s armchair are on display inside the castle.

The castle protects the lush Walmer Gardens from the salty English Channel winds, allowing a diverse selection of plants and trees to thrive. Walk among the rows of blooming English flowers, manicured hedges and a pond crowned with lily pads. Visit on a sunny day and stretch out on a deckchair while bees hum in the blossoms. The garden has a feature for every season and uses every inch of space for beautiful displays. Even the dry bed of the castle moat is now filled with magnolia trees.

Visit the on-site café to sample tasty dishes that feature produce from the surrounding kitchen garden. This part of the garden includes a diverse vegetable patch and an apple and pear orchard. Enjoy a pot of English breakfast tea and a slice of cake on the sheltered lawn.

Drive northeast from Dover to Walmer Castle and Gardens in just 15 minutes. You’ll find plenty of on-site parking. Alternatively, board an inexpensive East Kent bus and reach Walmer in half an hour. The admission fee to Walmer Castle includes an audio guide, which provides an immersive and informative experience of the castle chambers. Opening times vary seasonally so call ahead to confirm the dates for your trip. Stroll along the seafront to the nearby Deal Castle, a 25-minute walk away, and make a truly royal day of your visit.

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